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Recent Publications

“Eye Floaters Are A Common Problem”

Aug 11, 2019

Eye floaters are dots or specks in a person’s vision that seem to float away when the person tries to look directly at them. Eye floaters are a normal part of the aging process. The American Society of Retina Specialists note that conditions such as vitreous detachment, which causes more floaters, are more common after the age of 60. Everyone can get eye floaters at some point, though most people ignore them. It seems as though everyone gets them, but they are rarely a cause for alarm. But in some rare cases they can indicate a more serious condition. Many people think eye floaters are simply dust that gets in your eyes, but this is not the case. This is because they move when your eye moves. The main symptoms of eye floaters are small areas in a person’s field of vision that seem out of place. Floaters can take different shapes. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are called floaters. Floaters are tiny but can significantly affect the vision, as they are very close to the input of the eye. One characteristic of eye floaters is that they seem to dart back and forth across the field of vision. Trying to look directly at a floater will cause it to move away in the direction the person looks. When the person rests their eyes, the floaters seem to drift on their own. Eye floaters do not usually require treatment, as they themselves do not cause any harm to the sight.

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“Bananas Overall Healthful”

Aug 04, 2019

We all enjoy a good banana but what are its effects on health? Bananas may help a person reduce bloating, control their appetite, and replace processed sugars. Bananas are an excellent source of fiber. A medium banana contains 3.07 grams (g) of fiber, and the recommended daily intake for adults is 25g for those on a 2,000-calorie diet. Fortunately, studies show that there is a link between higher fiber intake and lower body weights. This nutrient may also help reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels. Fiber can help people feel full for longer, which may reduce the total number of calories that they eat. The body takes a long time to digest certain types of fiber, allowing it to regulate food intake better. Research studies looked at the effects of dietary fiber on appetite in 100 overweight but otherwise healthy adults. The results showed that an increase in dietary fiber reduced feelings of hunger, as well as how many calories the participants consumed. Fiber may also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart and artery disease. Unripe green bananas contain resistant starch. Resistant starch is a carbohydrate that does not break down easily in the small intestine. Instead, it passes through to the large intestine, which means that it does not increase blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that resistant starch could also help improve insulin sensitivity. The benefits that it provides for gut health can help with constipation and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

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“Aspirin May Be Contraindicated”

Jul 28, 2019

For years we were assured that daily aspirin therapy was a way to help prevent cancer and heart disease and protect overall health.  But we are now being cautioned against taking daily aspirin without the recommendation of a doctor.  So, what are the so-called current facts on this confusing matter?  As of 2016, recommendations were for older Americans with a high risk of heart disease, to take low–dose aspirin every day to reduce their risk of a heart attack, prevent some cancers and cancer death, extend their lives and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients over the course of 20 years.  Yet, by 2017 the FDA had concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called “primary prevention.”   Care is needed when using aspirin with other blood thinners, such as warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixiban (Eliquis).  While doctors used to support daily consumption of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke, three major clinical trials in early 2018 found the risks of the drug outweighed any benefits in people who did not already have heart disease.

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“Fruits and Veggies Can Be a Double-Edged Sword”

Jul 21, 2019

Investigators are now telling us that fruits and vegetables do not dramatically lower the risk of common diseases, including cancer. But, public health guidelines for food oriented toward high vegetable and fruit consumption has been around for decades and has continued up to the present. This scenario led to the rising popularity of vitamin supplements from the 1980s until today, but there have been huge problems with these trends. Research has failed to substantiate the suggestion that as many as 50% of cancers could be prevented by boosting the public’s consumption of fruit and vegetables. It’s better to eat any fruit or vegetable than a plate of chicken wings or a big bag of Fritos. However, when you do eat fruits and veggies, be aware what’s in them—some have better nutrients than others. And some fruits are loaded with sugar. Bananas are a tasty and convenient snack and they even come in their own easy-to-peel wrapper. They’re also rich in fiber and nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Bananas are low in fats and protein, and only contain about 105 calories.

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“Fried Food Dilemma”

Jul 14, 2019

In North America, 25-36% of adults consume foods, usually fried, from fast food restaurants every day. Moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. But could eating fried foods actually shorten our lives? The connection between eating fried foods and obesity and heart disease is well known. In a 2018 study, it was shown that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was associated with a higher risk of all cause and cardiovascular mortality in women in the US. Several cohort studies in US populations showed that higher consumption of fried foods was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which are among the leading causes of death. However, a study in a Mediterranean population found no association between fried food consumption and coronary heart disease. A 2019 study has shown that frequent consumption of fried foods, particularly fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was correlated with a higher risk of all cause and cardiovascular mortality in this study population. Total or individual consumption of fried food was not generally linked to cancer mortality. Total fried food consumption of at least one serving per day was associated with a modestly higher but not significant risk of cardiovascular mortality. Frying is a complex cooking process that modifies the composition of foods and the frying medium. During frying, foods can lose water and absorb fat, and the frying oils deteriorate, especially when reused.

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“Smartphones Addiction Can Be A Problem”

Jun 30, 2019

It has been said of the Smartphone that it is something that you don’t need but you can’t live without it once you have used it. The vision for the original iPhone wasn’t intended to be our constant companion commanding our attention, from the time we wake up to the time we lay our heads to sleep. When Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, introduced the iPhone in 2007, he meant for the device to be used as a revolutionary tool, i.e., an iPod that made phone calls. Jobs didn’t make a mention of the phone’s internet connectivity features until more than 30 minutes into his famous presentation. Jobs was convinced that the phones carefully designed native features were enough and that apps were not needed. Boy, he was wrong on that one. As of the first quarter of 2019, Android users were able to choose between 2.1 million apps. Apple’s App Store had almost 1.8 million available apps. The average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone and uses close to 40 of them each month. According to Georgetown professor Cal Newport, author of the new book “Digital Minimalism,” Mr. Jobs didn’t seek to radically change the rhythm of users’ daily lives. He simply wanted to take experiences we already found important and make them better.” So, what are these devices doing to us? In Dan Schawbel’s bestseller, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation, he argues that contrary to the illusion that today’s workers are “highly connected” to one another, most people actually feel isolated from their colleagues, and the main cause of social isolation is technology itself. Schawbel interviewed 100 top young leaders and most agreed that their devices are a “double-edged sword,” in that it helps their teams become super-connected, but at the cost of the human touch.

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“Three Ways to Reduce Heart Disease Deaths Globally”

Jun 23, 2019

Heart disease is a term used to refer to several diseases of the heart and circulatory system, including coronary artery disease, heart arrhythmias, heart attack, angina and heart failure. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease. So, don’t let the terms confuse you. Just remember that none of them are good. Patients can even have “silent heart disease.” New research from Harvard suggests that three tried and tested interventions could prevent many of those deaths if implemented through global policies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million deaths worldwide each year are due to cardiovascular disease, accounting for an estimated 31% of yearly global deaths. In a new study, researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, have pinpointed three well-known, verified interventions that have the potential to prevent a significant number of such premature deaths. The three public health interventions combined could help extend the lives of 94 million people over 25 years, from 2015 through to 2040. But, policymakers across the world have to commit to implementing the recommended measures. The researchers used data on mean blood pressure levels, as well as sodium (salt), and trans-fat consumption in populations from different countries. Three “well-known interventions,” namely: lowering blood pressure, reducing sodium intake, and eliminating trans-fat from one’s diet could have an important beneficial effect in terms of preventing millions of premature, cardiovascular event-related deaths worldwide. Boosting the reach of treatments for high blood pressure to 70% of the world’s population could save an estimated 39.4 million people.

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“Popular Heartburn Drugs Again Tied To Fatalities”

Jun 16, 2019

They rank among the top-selling medications in the US. Heartburn drugs are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are sold under the brand names Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix, among others. Over 15 million Americans suffering from heartburn, ulcers, and acid reflux have prescriptions for PPIs, which bring relief by reducing gastric acid. PPIs, used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers, work by reduction of stomach acid production. PPIs work by blocking the enzyme system that creates stomach acid. They are commonly prescribed for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acid chronically escapes into the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). A new study suggests people who use common heartburn drugs for months to years may face heightened risks of dying from heart disease, kidney failure or stomach cancer. The study included more than 200,000 US veterans. It’s the latest to raise concerns over drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Research in recent years has linked prolonged PPI use to increased risks of various diseases and premature death. These latest findings point to the specific causes of death tied to the drugs. However, the excess risks were relatively small. When the researchers weighed other factors—such as patients’ age and chronic health conditions—PPI use was tied to a roughly 18% higher risk of cardiovascular death.

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“Sleep Adequacy is Key”

Jun 09, 2019

According to the National Sleep Foundation, many as one-third of Americans still don’t get enough sleep. A lot of people still believe a lot of common myths when it comes to getting shuteye. An estimated 50% of Americans watch television 30 minutes before going to bed. But this pre-sleep arousal has been shown to lead to sleep difficulties. We sleep for 1/3 of our lifetimes or about 24.9 years. All mammals and birds sleep. Insects appear to sleep, too. And, people who cannot sleep, die. Rats die after about 17 days of total sleep deprivation. Insomnia or sleep deprivation may be a risk factor for cancer, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, and cataracts. Insufficient sleep has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, including pain, heart disease, and cancer. According to a 2007 British study, people who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease. Getting less than seven hours of sleep increases the risk of weight gain and less than six hours leads to unclear thinking. People who have sleep apnea are at higher risk for motor vehicle accidents. Night-shift workers—who typically get less sleep and have lower sleep quality than day workers—are at higher risk for depression, diabetes, breast cancer, and all-cause mortality. Instead of getting more sleep, older adults actually tend to sleep less, in part due to health conditions. Habitual insufficient sleep can lead to metabolic, mental health, and immunological health consequences.

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“Cancer Causes 33% of Canadian Deaths”

Jun 02, 2019

Canadians continue to smoke, drink, and eat their way towards a diagnosis of cancer, even though public health agencies alert people of ways to prevent up to 40,000 new cases of cancer per year. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in Canada, responsible for 1 in 3 deaths in 2017. Findings from the Canadian Population Attributable Risk of Cancer (ComPARe) study showed that in 2015, more than one-third of cancers were caused by “largely preventable” lifestyle, environmental, and infectious agent risk factors. If this trend continues, the annual number of cases of preventable cancer in Canada is projected to almost double by 2046. Cancer expert, Salaheddin M. Mahmud, MD, PhD, said, “While it is true that much progress is needed to find better treatments for cancer, studies such as that conducted by the ComPARe consortium show unequivocally that there is much that can be done to prevent cancer.” Studies show that 33% can be attributed to one or more modifiable risk factors. There were no significant differences between men and women. The most common preventable cancers were those of the cervix, lung, and head and neck. Smoking tobacco remains the highest of cancer risk factors, responsible for more than 18% of all cancers diagnosed in 2015. The researchers estimate that more than 11,000 cancers could be prevented each year if people would stop smoking. However, the results also show that the combination of physical inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess weight accounted for an additional 12% of cancer cases. Other leading modifiable cancer risk factors include alcohol consumption and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Similarly, more than 6000 cancers could be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight.

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